Friday, May 27, 2011
Jail Cheney along with Mladic
Well, that didn't take long. Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, the one who ordered the genocidal slaughter of more than 7,500 (some credible reports say more than 8,000) unarmed Bosniak Muslim men and boys in Srebenica in July 1995, has finally been arrested. His son Darko--credible source, completely likely to tell the unvarnished truth--claims his father is innocent and, anyway, is "very, very fragile."
Right. Before Dick Cheney, whose hands are far more bloody than are Mladic's, was even elected to serve as de facto president, we were assured that his heart condition was terrible, insinuating he could really go at any time. Instead, he survived with impunity for eight years of rule as puppetmaster whose commands killed far more Muslims than Mladic ever could, and continues to lay about in the lap of luxury.
Yes, I remain angry about this. Mladic should be incarcerated for the rest of his life. He should have a cellie, Dick Cheney. Mladic was living in a small house with a broken down car in the front yard. Cheney owns mansions and made scores of millions of obscene war profits and oil profits (indistinguishable when the US military, under his command, provided massive free security services for his oil investments). Justice delayed is justice diminished, but it is still possible to gain at least some measure of it in these cases.
My fantasy is that the American people grow the backbone that we demanded of the Serbs. Some of them defend Mladic, but they mostly support the arrest and upcoming trial. When will Americans activate our national conscience to override our notions of exceptionalism that outrage so much of the world?
Imprisonment is not necessarily mutually exclusive from restorative justice. Conditions should be rehabilitative and therapy should be ongoing, as should required interviews with survivors and their loved ones. This would not bring anyone back in Iraq or Bosnia, but it would provide an opportunity for closure and healing for inmates and their extended mass of victims. Cheney has been above the law but it's time to elevate the law to include all the engineers and architects of mass violence. Gear up the International Criminal Court and pay for it by closing down a few military bases. I've served time for my nonviolent anti-militarism crimes and I'd like to see some parity in sacrifice for willingness to break the law. My crimes were done in the name of upholding international law and Cheney's were done in direct violation of those laws. Time for a new Nuremberg process that is open to all violators, irrespective of the size of the military of the national identity of the offenders.